When we are really innovating we are actually working on the Work-to-be-done, it is a far more exciting activity than constantly focusing on work done, that we need to do to refine, it, to make it more productive, efficient and effective. This work is done, certainly needs doing, no question but it is the “work-t- be-done” that gets the pulse racing. Yet both are really hard work.
The work-to-be-done is the need for our future growth and well-being to be derived from innovation activities.
These are so often made up of so many intangible parts that need exploring, investigating and discovering, the exciting parts of work. As we reveal ideas, concepts or new designs we are providing the new wealth of organizations, in the knowledge sharing economy of today and the near future. We are adding discovery.
Today we can share discovery far more easily, we can expand our thinking by exchanging in new collaborations, in growing networks and relationships. Technology is enabling us to look more towards the “work to be done” as the place to be.
As demand and uncertainty are all around, we need to find better ways to manage in this volatile environment. We have a choice (many sadly still do not) to hunker down and just keep repeating the work we are always doing, repeating the work done again and again, or being enabled to think about what needs changing and ask what is the ‘work to be done?’
Surprisingly Adam Smith identified this important difference back in 1776.
This can be explained as the ‘work done’ is the accumulated knowledge, which has built up and been embodied in the firm’s results with the innovations achieved in the past and is seen as the tangible capital.
The work to be done is how well it can adapt to change, how we can make these changes happen. In the past century, we operated in mass production era, systems with standard goods and stable market conditions the ‘work done’ was equivalent to the ‘work to be done’, yet era has long gone but not our management mentality
In today’s global market, with its rapid technology diffusion, disruptive and constant change with a far greater emphasis on serving the ‘work to be done’ is more important than the ‘work done’ and intangible assets are fundamental to this. It is piecing together what we know, often tangible and “in front of our eyes” or we can explore the fragments of information, pursue some thoughts, chase a notion or simply push the boundaries of what is known.
They provide the intellectual capital, the regenerating force, to react to changing demand for the required future value creation that needs to be sustaining. It is the source for the value-creating that needs to be done.
Work to be done is the need for our future growth and well-being to be derived from innovation activities. These so much made up of intangible parts will provide the new wealth of organizations in the knowledge sharing economy of today and the near future.
We need new forms of evaluation to measure the real asset wealth of the organization to understand the points of intensity, their connected dynamics, and value creating effects. We need to ask what is required to reconfigure the changing capabilities and capacities needed to grow in the future.
We all need to stop and reflect. We need to step off the treadmill. Our need is to find out more of the emerging Work-to-be-done and less on the repeating work going on.
When we can recognize our need to change then our focus becomes one that is far more the dynamic force and place for innovation to happen. Then we are able to seek out ways to reduce the repeating work done into the exciting place of work needed to be done to thrive and prosper, then we need to validate it- that is the hard work, ticking off the ‘work done’
Here is the frontier of great discovery, we “find” new innovation in the exploration of the work-to-be-done, then we have to come back and recognize all of the work to be done to realize it. Happy innovation and discovery. All innovation is hard work!